A Comparative Theological Perspective
Keywords:comparative theology, Francis Clooney, Robert Cummings Neville
One version, albeit in many circles the dominant one, of the scholarly study and teaching of religion interfaces with theological ideas of religious traditions usually only at the descriptive level. Yet the study and teaching of religions also involves evaluation of such, whether implicitly or intentionally, and these usually occur at the ideational level. This essay seeks to illuminate these operations from a comparative theological perspective, suggesting how the study, teaching, and evaluating of religious traditions in their multi-facetedness works both comparatively and theologically. We will spring off The Comparative Religious Ideas project from almost two decades ago both because of how it presented a marked improvement over prior approaches to religious comparativism and because of its prescience then in charting the terrain. From there, however, we will explore how the studying, teaching, and evaluating of religions involves engaging the realm of religious ideas with their concomitant (embodied) practices and from that perspective, the comparative task is both complexified and deepened. Our conclusions propose how to nurture comparative methodologies at both the cognitive and affective domains in order to further discussion in the study, teaching, and evaluation of religion.
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